Boys Basketball: Skyline uses tough defense, timely scoring to knock off Pinckney

The Skyline boys’ basketball team didn’t get any breaks in their District draw as the Eagles faced off against a tough Pinckney team in Monday’s District opener at Brighton. The Pirates went 13-7 in the regular season and took second place with a 9-5 record in the SEC White Division.

“They didn’t take second in the White Division by accident or luck,” said Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace. “They are tough and have gritty players led by Dylan Reason.”

While Skyline had plenty of “Reason” to be concerned, the Eagles flew into Districts playing some outstanding basketball, which included wins over the likes of Huron and Detroit Country Day. Kabir Bergin and Jack Williams each scored 17 points to help the Eagles land a District opening 48-42 win over those talented and gritty Pirates, who didn’t give up until the final buzzer.

Skyline will play another strong team from the SEC White Division on Wednesday. The Eagles will play a young, but talented Dexter team at 5 p.m. in the first of two semifinal games at Brighton HS. Dexter drew an opening-round bye. South Lyon East will play South Lyon in the 7 p.m. game. The finals are at 7 p.m. on Friday at Brighton.

Skyline got out to a very strong start defensively in the first quarter against Pinckney. The Eagles used their full-court pressure defense to force turnovers and take an 11 to 4 lead after one quarter.

The trend continued into the second quarter and Skyline was able to build a 20-6 lead.

Then the Eagles went cold from the floor and started committing fouls. Pinckney started chipping away and gaining some confidence and cut the lead to 22-17 at half.

Skyline defensively played solid in the third quarter but had a lot of trouble converting on offense again like during the second quarter. Pinckney was able to take the lead briefly before a Bergin triple tied it back up. Skyline led 32-29 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, both teams had its opportunities and Skyline was able to keep a 1 to 2 possession lead for most of the quarter. The Eagles held a three-point lead with about 2 minutes left and then proceeded to miss the front end of two one-and-one’s over the next minute while holding off Pinckney offensively.

After a third stop and a foul, Williams was able to make 1 of 2 in the double bonus to make it a four-point game. After another stop, Bergin made two free throws to make a six-point lead for the final score.

Gabe Kellman was outstanding defensively down the stretch on Reason, who finished with 23 points for Pinckney.

“Dylan kept his team in the game each quarter with tough buckets,” Lovelace said. “Gabe did a great job in the last 3 minutes limiting his touches and being able to continue his scoring.”

Skyline also got quality hustle and energy minutes from Will Gardner off the bench with four points and six rebounds.